Even though Venerable Fulton Sheen’s beatification might’ve been postponed, there is no denying that he was a good, holy man that brought the Faith to people en masse. While some of us might’ve not had the pleasure to have heard him or watched in while he was still alive, we can still learn a lot from him.
There are a plethora of resources to choose from in the form of books, audio, and even his popular Life is Worth Living TV show. In fact, there is so much material—he was a prolific writer and speaker, after all—that one can get overwhelmed when trying to figure out where to begin.
If you’re in this boat but want to dip your toes into some of the awesome wisdom he left behind, why not begin with some of his inspiring words regarding Christmas? Already familiar with Ven. Sheen’s work but also want a little Christmas inspiration from this holy man? Well, then, read on!
On receiving Him in your current state on Christmas
In the book, The Fullness of Christ, we get Ven. Sheen’s words on the birth of Christ and how we receive Him. These words are especially important to ponder during Advent and (particularly) on Christmas Day.
“‘A Child is born.’ To some He comes on this Christmas Day even in the remorse that follows, ‘There is no room…’; to some He comes when their hearts are saddened by a life that has been taken away and can be gladdened only by a Life that is given; to some, He comes when their hearts are like conscious mangers cry out ‘Lord, I am not worthy!’; to others, He comes as their study of science reminds them that the only star worth studying is the Star that leads to the Maker of the Stars; to others, He comes when their hearts are broken, that He might enter in and heal with wings wider than the world; to others, He comes in joy amidst the Venite Adoremus of the angels; to other He comes because they are so young they can never remember another Christmas – but to each and everyone He comes as if He had never come before in His own sweet way, He is the Child who is born. He, Jesus the Savior, He Emmanuel, He Christ at Christ’s Mass on Christmas.”
On obedience and faith
In Through the Year with Fulton Sheen, we learn about the importance of obedience and how it relates to the birth of Christ and our faith. Do you believe you’re unworthy because you’re not as knowledgeable on the faith as your peers? Read on!
“What does obedience do for us? Obedience gives us faith. Are we reacting against Christ and his Church, or are we accepting its authority? Faith comes from that kind of submission. Remember that when our blessed Lord was born, Herod consulted the scribes… He said to the scribes, ‘Where is the Christ to be born?’ . . . They said, ‘He is to be born in Bethlehem.’ Did they go? There was not a single scribe at that crib—not one. But they knew. Our faith today can be a kind of creedal assent, instead of a living act of the will, conscious of the fact that we are submitting to Christ, as Christ submitted to the heavenly Father. Notice, too, that at the crib, only two classes of people found their way to Christ when he came to this earth: the very simple, and the very learned—the shepherds who knew that they knew nothing, and the wise men who knew that they did not know everything.”
Seeing the Child Jesus through the eyes of Mary
In Manifestations of Christ, published in 1932, Ven. Sheen wrote:
“As we gather about the crib of Bethlehem, we feel that we are in the presence of a new Paradise of Beauty and Love… and the name of that Paradise is Mary. And if we could have been there in that stable on that first Christmas night, we might have seen that Paradise of the Incarnation but we should not be able to recollect whether her face was beautiful or not. for what would have impressed us, and made us forget all else, would have been the lovely, sinless soul that shone through her eyes like two celestial suns. If we could have stood at the gates to that Paradise, we would have less peered at it as into it, for what would have impressed us would not have been any external qualities, though these would have been ravishing, but rather the qualities of her soul—her simplicity, innocence, humility, and above all, her purity… Christmas takes on a new meaning when the Mother is seen with the Babe. In fact, the heavens and the earth seem almost to exchange places. Years ago, we used to think of the heavens as ‘way up there.’ Then one day the God of the heavens came to this earth, and that hour when she held the Babe in her arms, it became true to say that with her we now ‘look down’ at heaven.”
Do you see how beautiful, powerful, and, yet, still relevant his words remain? If you’re looking for something to ponder while at Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass, you can remember these wise words from Venerable Sheen. Don’t forget to pray for his beatification to proceed as well!
Venerable Fulton Sheen, pray for us! And a Merry Christmas to everyone!